Traffic jams, multiple crashes reported during eclipse in Monroe County

The solar eclipse on Monday was quite the spectacle for those lucky enough to see it, but it seems some had to pay a price to take in that sight. 

In Monroe County, people traveled far and wide to see the eclipse, but spent hours in traffic.

"I knew it was going to be busy, but not like it was," said Scott Farley, a Monroe County resident.

It was clear well before the moon passed in front of the sun that Monday was going to be different for those living even close to the path of totality.

"It was backed up from the state line to Wayne County on I-75," said Monroe County Sheriff Troy Goodnough. 

The county's sheriff's office had extra patrols in anticipation of the crowds coming to the far southeast corner of Michigan, Goodnough said. But like the eclipse itself, what he saw was a once in a lifetime event.

"Between 10 a.m. and midnight, the sheriff’s office alone handled 130 calls for service," Goodnough said. The calls included 32 crashes – resulting in "seven injury accidents, (and) 13 disabled vehicles."

Everyone was trying to get somewhere at the same time.

"Drivers became impatient and just cut in front of cars, and I'm thinking – I’m going to witness a crash," Goodnough said.


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Before and after the eclipse, traffic proved to be a problem in Monroe County. Some locations were better equipped to handle it than others. 

William C. Sterling State Park even had a viewing party to capitalize on the influx of people flocking to the area.

Vickie Lowery, another Monroe County resident, was there.

"We had a little bit of a wait getting in," Lowrey said.

And she definitely was not alone.

"I have lived here my entire life, and I’ve never seen that much traffic in Monroe County, ever," said Susan Farley. "Main roads were really bad, but the side streets were even worse."

Even local shortcuts were cut off hours before and after the eclipse.

"People parked where you'd never think they'd be parked just to get out and witness this event," Goodnough said.

The traffic, caused by the event, keept deputies busy until 11:30 p.m.

"I’m talking roads out where if we see 15 cars a day, we're lucky – and we had them backed up for miles," Goodnough said.

Aside from more than a fair share of traffic crashes, there were no major crimes to report, the county sheriff said.